Frequently Lost Items During a Fire
A fire in your home may not result in a total loss.
A fire in your home in Colorado Springs, CO, may not result in a total loss. Fire restoration specialists may be able to save a lot of the items in your home, but there are some things you will have to throw away. Having a prepared list of items that are frequently lost in a fire can serve as a starting checklist for belongings that need to be replaced.
List Of Items That Are Frequently Lost During a Fire
The good thing about replacing important documents is that you can find almost all of them online. You likely have digital copies of your income tax records, insurance information and legal documents. However, you need to have hard copies of certain documents:
- Drivers license
- Titles and deeds
- Social security cards
- Health insurance cards
If these items are listed as part of the fire damage to your home, start the process of replacing them right away.
You will likely need to throw away all food if the fire was anywhere near your kitchen. The refrigerator and freezer may keep food fresh under normal circumstances, but it is unlikely that they were able to withstand the fire's blaze well enough to protect the food inside during a fire. Non-perishable items must be tossed as well. Plastic and cardboard are no match for smoke and soot. Even the food in glass jars and aluminum cans can be spoiled by the high heat of a house fire. It is better to get rid of food altogether than take chances that it has gone bad.
Just as you would not want to consume anything that the fire or extinguishing agents have touched, you also don't want to put anything from the fire on your body. This includes cosmetics, soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and hair styling products. It's also necessary to throw away any medication that could have been subject to high temperatures or toxic fumes.
Many items in your home can be salvaged after a fire, but some must be replaced. Mitigation professionals can help you determine what to throw away and what to keep.
The Top 3 Things You Should Know About Category 2 Water Damage
Avoid exposure to Category 2 water damage
Before water pipe repair can begin, you need to know what kind of water you’re dealing with. Category 2 water damage is essentially the “Goldilocks” of water damage. It isn’t as highly contaminated as Category 3 water, but it isn’t clean like Category 1 water, either. Here are the top three things you need to know about Category 2 water.
3 Facts About Category 2 Water Damage
1. It Can Make You Sick
Category 2 water contains a moderate amount of biological, chemical and/or physical contaminants. In short, enough toxins are present that consuming this type of water is likely to make you feel ill and exposure to it could cause significant skin irritation. It’s often referred to as “gray water” due to this mid-range level of contamination.
2. It’s Found in a Variety of Places
There are probably several sources of Category 2 water on your Colorado Springs, CO, commercial property. Category 2 water comes from places such as:
- Toilets (without solid waste)
- Sump pumps
- Washing machines
If you experience unwanted water from any of these sources, you should refrain from beginning any water pipe repair or water removal and instead vacate the area.
3. It Should Be Cleaned Up by Professionals
Because of the potential for illness, if a broken pipe or seepage causes an area of your property to become flooded with Category 2 water, it’s best to call your local water damage restoration company. Professionals have the experience, training and equipment to safely remove the contaminated water and sanitize your commercial space. They also frequently perform repairs and other restoration efforts as you work toward returning to business as usual.
Before you break out the shop vac or start searching for water pipe repair videos online, assess the water involved. If you suspect that it’s Category 2 water, enlist the help of a trusted water damage mitigation service for a safe, quick resolution.
How To Protect Your Pipes During Cold Weather
A burst pipe leads to water damage
A slow leak in a pipe in your home in Colorado Springs, CO, may go undetected for a while, but there's no mistaking the sudden and extensive damage a pipe that has frozen can cause. Here are some pipe freeze prevention tips to help keep your home safe from water damage during the winter.
3 Tips To Avoid Freezing Pipes and Water Damage
The best way to avoid extensive water damage from frozen pipes is to prevent the issue from happening in the first place. There are a few places in your home where your pipes are the most vulnerable to freezing:
- Right inside exterior walls
- Connected to exterior faucets
- Inside closed cabinets
- In unheated areas such as attics and crawl spaces
There are several things you can do to prevent pipes from freezing. Insulate your pipes, particularly the ones that are near exterior walls or in spaces cut off from the central heating in your living spaces. You can apply electrical heating tape to pipes as well. Be sure to keep your heater on, even when you are not at home, if temperatures outside are below freezing. During the coldest parts of the day, it's a good idea to open your cabinet doors or allow your water faucets to drip for reliable pipe freeze prevention.
If you can catch a frozen pipe before it bursts, you may be able to save the pipe and the area around it from damage. A telltale sign that you have a frozen pipe is a significantly smaller flow when you turn on a faucet. Turn the faucet off, locate the pipe and slowly warm it up, allowing the ice inside to melt. The faucet should then flow normally again.
A burst pipe leads to water damage that can only be properly repaired by water mitigation experts. The technicians must tear out all ruined materials and rebuild the area affected by the flooding. If your insurance doesn't cover the cost, you may be looking at a lot of out-of-pocket expenses.
These pipe freeze prevention tips can protect your home from water damage. Make pipe protection part of your regular winter maintenance plan.
How To Tell If Your Home Is in a Flood Zone
Living in certain locations does increase the odds of experiencing a flood.
Virtually no home is immune to flooding, particularly after a storm, but living in certain locations does increase the odds of experiencing a flood. To find out if your Colorado Springs, CO, home sits in a flood zone, take the following steps.
3 Steps To Find Out If Your Home Sits In a Flood Zone
1. Consult a Flood Map
Flood maps identify the parts of the country that are most vulnerable to rising water based on available data, and they are updated regularly. In addition to highlighting the boundaries of these zones, many maps also indicate major floodways.
To view flood maps free of cost, visit the FEMA Flood Map Service Center. You can use the service to create, save and print a hard copy of your local area’s flood map. The map itself may seem intimidating at first glance, but the website provides a helpful glossary to assist you in deciphering unfamiliar language. The center also provides other flood-fighting resources to help you understand your local risk in greater depth.
2. Understand the 6 Types of Flood Zone
Since flood maps are used extensively by flood insurance providers, the various flood zones are classified alphabetically. Each flooding zone carries a different level of risk:
- Zone A: High flood risk
- Zone B: Moderate flood risk
- Zone C: Minimal flood risk
- Zone D: Undetermined flood risk
- Zone V: High risk flood zones specific to coastal locations
New flood maps also merge Zones B and C into the singular Zone X.
3. Check Your Map Periodically
Flood zones shift over time due to man-made and natural changes to the land’s topography. As such, it’s important to review flood maps every five years. If your home falls in Zone D, you may want to check more often.
When it comes to preventing water damage from flooding, knowledge is power. Identifying whether or not your house is in a flood zone is your first step toward protecting not only your home, but also everyone and everything in it.
What To Expect After a Commercial Roof Fire
Roof damage after commercial fire.
Roof damage can be tricky to recognize immediately after a fire, especially if your attention has been drawn toward the damage inside your commercial property and the people who were on your property during the fire.
3 Steps Professionals Take Right Away
However, when fire cleanup and repair professionals show up to assess your property, there are some steps they'll take right away:
- Secure your property
- Tarp over any holes on the roof
- Provide their initial assessment
It's best to assume that you'll need roof repair. If the heat and flames of the fire didn't directly damage the roofing materials, firefighters may have broken holes in the roof as part of their efforts to save the rest of the building.
Why Does Tarping Matter?
Some of the most important tasks involved in fire cleanup are included in tarp services. When technicians cover the holes in the roof, they protect the inside of your property from rain or snow, windblown debris, animals and insects. This work may also involve preventing others from entering your building without permission. This is a good way to avoid vandalism and other secondary damages.
What Should You Do After the Fire?
There are several other dos and don'ts you should also understand when your building has been damaged by fire:
- Do contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Provide these professionals with your insurance policy and account information.
- Do keep records of all conversations, receipts, and documents related to the fire, the resulting damage, and your insurance claim.
- Don't try to complete roof repair on your own. There are many safety hazards, and you could cause further damage, as well as making it more difficult for the insurance adjuster to establish the amount of damage.
- Don't enter the building until the fire department has completed all necessary safety inspections.
If your Colorado Springs, CO, property has been damaged by a fire, you'll need to rely on experienced fire cleanup professionals to help you get your building back into its pre-fire condition. Make sure you're prepared before a fire breaks out, so you can react confidently during an emergency.
How To Keep Your Pipes From Freezing
Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing
Winter may mean shorter days and cooler temperatures in Colorado Springs, CO, but it doesn't have to mean bursting pipes and water damage too. Here are six ways to prevent your pipes from freezing this winter.
6 Ways To Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing
- Let the faucet run overnight
It's true what they say: It's always coldest just before the dawn. If you have pipes that are exposed to the elements, even a tiny trickle of water from a faucet that's connected to those pipes can stop them from freezing if left running overnight.
- Shut the garage door
This is especially useful if your garage is home to water supply lines. Keeping the door shut keeps the cold out and the temperature up — at least a little bit.
- Open the cabinets under the sink
Leaving the cabinet doors open beneath your kitchen, bathroom, or utility sink allows more of the warm air in your home to reach the pipes and can potentially stop them from freezing.
- Keep the temperature in your home consistent
Turning the thermostat down a few degrees before you jump under the covers at night may save you a couple of bucks on your energy bill, but in the winter, that drop in temperature can also lead to freezing and bursting pipes.
- Insulate your pipes
Some areas of your home, such as the basement and attic, are naturally colder than the rest of your home. Wrapping the pipes in these areas with insulation can keep them heated enough to avoid freezing over.
- Eliminate drafts
Keep your home toasty warm and your pipes thoroughly thawed by making sure the seals around windows and doors are tight. It's also a good idea to inspect your home annually for other cracks and seal them promptly.
Very few people have money conveniently tucked away in a "fix broken pipe" fund. Following these six tips can help eliminate the threat of freezing and bursting pipes, as well as the need to enlist the help of a professional water damage recovery company.
3 Common Types of Damage After a Cold Spring Storm
Cold Spring Storm.
For most, spring is a season of renewal and rebirth. Leaves appear on trees. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training. Temperatures start to warm up. And then they plummet for one last winter storm.
If you’re hit with a cold spring storm, keep an eye out for these three types of common storm damage — and keep your local storm damage restoration company on standby.
3 Types of Damage
1. Roof Damage
Your home’s roof is arguably the most vulnerable section of your home when a spring blizzard hits. For starters, snow is heavy. If left to linger, as little as two feet of snow can cause parts of your roof to collapse. Instead of waiting for a massive spring snowfall to melt, contact a professional snow removal service to clear the white shroud from your roof.
Wind can also wreak havoc on the roof of your Colorado Springs, CO, home, primarily in the form of displaced shingles. If a winter storm rips shingles, or even gutters, from your roof, it’s important to restore the area quickly. If left unattended, those newly exposed spots can let water into your home with every subsequent storm.
2. Ice Dams
Another offshoot of roof damage is the ice dam. This is what happens when water freezes at the edge of your roof and stops snowmelt and other water from running off your roof. Instead of draining, the accumulated water can seep into your home and affect your ceiling, walls and insulation. Excess water can lead to mold and weakened building materials.
3. Dented or Missing Siding
The high winds and hail that frequently accompany winter storms can be especially rough on your siding. Hail, and even especially hard snow and sleet, can dent it. Extra-strong winds can rip it clean off.
Sometimes, the worst winter storm hits in the spring. To prevent damage, make regular inspections of your home's exterior and be sure to stay on top of routine maintenance and repairs.
Fire Damage and Your Electronics
Fire damage comes from may sources.
After a fire damages your Colorado Springs, CO, home, there's a lot more to repair and replace than the structural elements of your home. All of the soot, smoke, flames, and water from the fire and the firefighters' efforts take a toll on your furniture and other belongings. Electronics, in particular, can be affected by the detritus of a fire. During your fire cleanup efforts, consider the value of hiring professionals to care for your computer, stereo system, and other electronics.
Damage Comes From Many Sources
Did you know that it's possible for electronics to suffer even without the presence of flames? If the fire takes place in one room of your home, smoke damage is likely to occur in other rooms. Any electronics in the home may not work properly and may not work at all. This is because the wiring could be coated with soot; other damage to the electronics could include:
- Melt parts from the heat
- Corrosion from acidic soot
- Short-circuited wiring from magnetically charged smoke
- Disintegration of metal components caused by soot
The temperatures surrounding the flames and the amount of smoke and soot are often very high during a residential fire. When it's safe to return to your home, take pictures and make notes of the visible damage but resist touching anything.
There Are Many Risks to Your Electronics
With an understanding of the many ways that electronic devices can be affected by fire, it's important to hire fire cleanup and repair professionals to help recover your belongings. Handling your electronics or turning them on could cause further harm. For instance, you could lose information from your computer if you turn it on. In fact, you should avoid touching all electronics. The risks include electrocution, wiped hard drives, corrosive acid burns, secondary electrical fires, and similar hazards.
Leave Repairs to the Professionals
The best way to be sure your computer, stereo, security cameras, and other electronics can function appropriately is to have a fire cleanup professional assess damages as soon as possible. It's also a good way to avoid further losses and injuries.
Why the Decision Makers Trust SERVPRO
Insurance Claim Form
When a business needs to contact an insurance agent to file a claim, most will receive a recommendation for SERVPRO in Colorado Springs, CO. While there are many reasons that this remediation service has such a sterling reputation among industry professionals, there are at least four reasons the decision-makers hold the company in such high regard.
- Rapid response
- Vendor requirements
- Claims information center
4 Reasons the Decision-Makers Trust SERVPRO
When a disaster occurs, response time is crucial. A company needs to protect the remainder of the facility to ensure claim approval, but if too much time passes, the business opens itself up to accusations of lax mitigation protocols, making approval difficult. A business needs a company with a pristine reputation to make it to the building quickly, putting mitigation procedures into effect that will protect the claim.
Your company's insurance agent most likely knows that SERVPRO is certified through the IICRC, the certification body known for restoration and remediation standards across the industry. The certification speaks to the professionalism and knowledge of this vendor and its franchisees.
Beyond the IICRC certification, the Faster to Any Disaster professional has an established and popular vendor program. Franchisees must adhere to 21 guidelines before they can receive referrals from the company. Some of these requirements include IICRC training, employee background checks and commercial insurance.
Claims Information Center
The business famous for the "Like it never even happened," adage also goes out of its way to make the claims process approachable for insurers and clients. The claims information center is a digital portal, allowing for shared messaging and updates on existing and past projects. The system benefits insurers because it is a one-stop-shop for research and data analysis.
SERVPRO is a well-known disaster mitigation and restoration specialist, and you should not be surprised if your insurance agent suggests the company for your next damage claim. Call on the Faster to Any Disaster brand for more information or a building assessment.
How Can You Prevent Water Damage During Construction?
Heavy rain can sometimes bring a building construction to a stop
The construction process is often an exciting time for business owners. However, having to worry about making a water pipe repair and the resulting water damage can make the process stressful. There are several ways businesses in Colorado Springs, CO, can avoid water damage during construction.
3 Steps to Avoid Water Damage During Construction
- Prepare for Rain
Heavy rain can sometimes bring a building construction to a stop. Though you can't prevent rain from falling, there are steps you can take to protect your building from flooding. Throughout the construction process, it can be helpful to ensure that building materials remain covered. Additionally, keeping water drainage away from your building can help to prevent major water damage from affecting your property.
- Use the Right Materials
Faulty or outdated equipment, such as a broken pipe or damaged appliance, can often cause major delays during the construction process. If major water damage occurs, it may be useful to contact water damage restoration experts. However, using materials that meet relevant building code standards can help to prevent the need for a water pipe repair or other costly and time-consuming repairs. If you are adding on to a property, it can be particularly helpful to check existing building materials prior to construction to ensure the original structure is sound.
- Keep Contact With the Project Manager
Throughout the process of construction, you will likely have a variety of questions. A project manager can often help to guide you through the construction process. Asking your project manager, contractor and other important professionals who are taking part in the construction process what measurements they are taking to avoid water damage can bring you peace of mind. If active steps to prevent a flooded building are not being taken, you can request that measurements be put in place quickly.
Avoiding the need for a water pipe repair or a supply line repair during construction can help to make construction a less stressful process. Knowing how to avoid major water damage during construction can help to make the construction process quick and easy.